Thursday, January 15, 2015

Is Happily Ever After Even Possible?

If you are a woman, you have without a doubt read the fairy tale stories about a princess marrying her prince and living happily ever after. But is that even practical in today's world?

Without a doubt, I believe it is!

I've been feeling a bit sorry for myself in the last 24 hours with my husband away from home on business and super busy at that. In fact, the only time he has had to connect with me, has been through a quick text or a late night phone call when his day is over.

I get jealous of those who have the luxury of having their husbands home every single night., Ladies who do, be thankful for it. I know you might not realize it but there are those of us that go to sleep night after night without our husbands by our sides. For some it's a short business trip. For others it may be long deployments that keep us apart. Yet for some, death has claimed their husband and they will have to find ways to get through the days and nights when they won't have him to come home to. So be thankful for what you have.

In fact that is what turned my attitude around. A fellow blogger has just walked the most difficult path I could imagine this last year when she lost her husband suddenly to cancer. She struggles with simply getting through hours at a time and wonders when it will ever get an easier. So while I may complain mine doesn't check in as often as I would like, at least I still get the opportunity to speak with him. I have NOTHING to complain about and for that I am ashamed at my actions. I'm sure if you ask her, she would take her husband on his worst day ever for just one more day to be with him.

We should all be a lot more thankful for the husbands we do have.

But I do believe that happily ever after is possible in a marriage. I've been doing a study with Greg Laurie on marriage lately and with God in your life and marriage, it's definitely possible.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it won't be without challenges, disagreements, fights and stresses that will test the integrity and strength of your marriage. It will happen. But for some, just because they no longer "feel" love for their spouse or they think things will be better without them, divorce becomes the way out. Instead of fighting to make it better, the opt for the easier solution.

Now there are times where biblically divorce is permitted, but even in some of those, God can heal it if BOTH are willing to submit to the obedience of God. We need to stop looking for the world's view on marriage and instead see it the way God designed it to be.

If both parties have Christ in their life, are believers in Jesus, are willing to submit to the authority of God and follow His laws that govern the responsibilities of a husband and a wife, I believe you can have that marriage made in heaven.

James Dobson once said, "Don't marry the person you can live with, marry the person you can't live without."

J.P. Getty was willing to give up all his wealth for one happy marriage.

Any marriage not built on the foundations of Jesus is like building it on sand. When the waves of life come crashing down, so will your marriage. It will begin to wash away bit by bit. When we get to the end of our lives and are facing our final days, we will only look back at three things in life: Faith, Family and Friends. But instead of waiting for those final days, why not deal with them now and make things the best they can be in each of those areas. That is the key to happiness, not more money, a bigger house or tons of things to stuff your home with.

If a marriage fails, it's the fault of the participants, not the institution.

Having a successful marriage requires a daily commitment and effort; never taking it for granted for one moment. With those ideas in tact, I honestly believe happily ever after is possible.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Missing Normal Weather

I had hoped when the fall season crept into existence I might find the things I had missed. The briskness of the air during the day, the changing of the leaves, fireplaces returning to use, changing out cotton sheets for flannel ones and even hoping for winter to return with a significant drop in temperatures.

But that is not what has happened, with the exception of the changing of the leaves, which I can be perfectly honest are still coming down, here on January 14th. What is happening?

We are used to getting large amounts of rain during the months of November through January but so far all we have seen is two days of rainfall since Thanksgiving. The temperatures remain around the high 60's to low 70's most days and I have seriously missed those night time temperatures dipping to well below freezing. We've only had about a week of that over all if you add all the days up which is really out of the normal for us.

Am I the only one noticing this or have you noticed a difference in the weather where you live as well?

Our grass has even managed to stay green all this time, and our willow tree which usually has lost all its leaves by mid-December still has green leaves left. My rose bushes even have buds forming on them. So what is up?

Would love to hear what the weather has been like for you where you live?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Keeping Romance Alive

It's that dreaded time again. I don't look forward to it when it comes and spend those final minutes memorizing every feature on his face. The color of the pale blue in his eyes and the way I know that those eyes will only look on me and find the love we have been able to capture, grow, maintain and strengthen in almost 20 years together. February 9th, we will celebrate 17 years of marriage together and as I was going about my errands yesterday I realized how wonderful it is to be with the right person God has in mind for you.

I had thought that about my first marriage, but maybe I falsely jumped at the idea of being married, and I certainly wasn't a Christian at first when I did. Later after 10 years, I watched that marriage dissolve into divorce following an affair by my ex and wondered if God would ever bless my life again or would I be forever a single mom for the remainder of my life.

Well he did.

And for this blessing I know I am a rich woman indeed. While my husband may not hold the keys to keeping romance alive, I know he loves me more than anything. He shows it in the way he makes the perfect eggs for me, to getting up early to feed our impatient cat Bella most mornings at 6am, to just hanging out with me and being the best friend I could ever have. We've gotten to the point of finishing each others sentences and even find our thoughts are aligned as well, when one of us will say something and we look at the other and say, "I was just thinking the same thing!"

He will be the last love of my life as well. I can't imagine a life without him in it and that is why I miss him the most when he is gone, whether for a handful of hours or for days traveling for work. I am blessed that he cares enough to call me every day and tell me he loves me. That there is no place he'd rather be than home with me and the kids. I hate that feeling when you suddenly realize that he isn't coming home tonight and that feeling of fear creeps in.

What if something happens? What will I do? Who will I call?

Most of the time nothing happens, but when it does, I handle it. I've earned my big girl panties these past few years. I've mastered fixing sprinkler links, to repairing broken locks, to handling life until he returns. Oh it wasn't always easy. There were hours I would spend crying my eyes out why life had to be so unfair to make my husband have to travel so much. I never thought I would be able to handle it like most women do, but then one day, those trips didn't hurt as much. I missed him as much as I ever did, but I trust God to bring him back. One day He might not, but I know God will always have my best interests in mind and I will ge through it.

Until that time, however, I truly cherish and love the man I've been blessed to have in this walk of mine on Earth and the best part is knowing I will spend an eternity with him as my best friend forever. So I wrote him a love letter telling him how valuable and loved he is. I secretly gave it to him and hoped he would read it on the plane.

He did and it make him cry. Not because of what I wrote, but that love could be put into words to let a wonderful man like my husband know how much I really and truly love him. I think that's important for us wives to do, as much as we can and in all sincerity. Because life outside our marriages is cruel, heartless and full of things that would tempt what we share. We have no greater honor than to pray for our husbands daily and whenever we think of them. I can't wait for the day when God shows us how many times we prayed for one another. It's the most powerful weapon we have to keep the enemy at bay and it's so much easier to lay the foundation before the house is built than to try to do it afterwards.

Our foundation is found in our commitment to God and in doing so makes it possible to truly have an unforgettable and truly rewarding marriage. Ours isn't perfect for it's perfect for us. How do you keep your marriage strong? I'd love to hear about it.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Time to Take Back My Health

Usually every New Years, people make resolutions to get healthy, to drop weight and to enjoy the life God has given them, but by February, it is said more than 80% of those people quit. Why is that?

Is it too hard to give up eating at fast food restaurants?

Is it too hard to give up soft drinks in leiu of water?

Is it too hard to take a thirty minute walk every day instead of doing nothing?

Perhaps for some, it is the lack of commitment, the willingness of someone to do it with and the dedicaiton of doing it while those in your home continue to eat anything and everything they want.

For me, the commitment became valid when I was tired of being diagnosed with things like kidney stones, Urinary Tract Infections and gallstones.

I was tired of my doctors always asking me if I always had high blood pressure.

I was tired of buying larger sizes not because they fit better but because I did want to.

I was tired of my husband wanting to buy me clothes, but I didn't like how they fit.

I was tired of running out of excuses and running out of time.

You can only take so many of those excuses to yourself and tired of backing them up with dumb reasons in your head.

I knew I could control it, but why was I simply letting things get out of control and letting society, the medical community and the government telling me what was okay to eat and drink.

Look around.

People are getting more sick, gaining more weight and people are making money off of something we can control.

Sure it's going to take some work on your behalf but you know what, in the end, you will look back and it will be the best thing you ever did.

For me, it began abruptly. No slow progression. I was simply tired of being sick and tired and overweight.

I wanted to be overall a more healthy version of me. So I began to change. Drinking only water and hot tea with honey and lemon.

It took a while to give up coffee and while there may be some health benefits, for me, the caffeine wasn't helping get my blood pressure down. That eventually went 100% about a week ago and I haven't noticed missing it. In fact, I tried drinking a cup, but honestly didn't enjoy the taste.

I traded in all my fast food and boxed foods for fresh vegetables and fruits. In fact my lunches consist of mostly salads, which my hubby is growing tired of. So I add different things to keep it interesting. I opt for dressings that are organic and contain simple ingredients which are healthy and low in fat content.

Portion control is another thing I've been watching. It is hard to imagine just how much food we consume once we get used to it. Now I have limits except for fresh veggies, I keep my portions what they should be, within the serving size. I don't make anything unless it's fresh, nothing coming from a box.

I eliminated all salt with the exception of what comes in recipes in which is use Pink Himilayian Salt because it contains almost 75% of the worlds known minerals in it and its great for your body. Not the additives our foods have in them. In fact the fewer the ingridients the more I love it.

I have eliminated all sugar and high fructose corn syrup. Don't let the ads fool you. It's not healthy for you at all. It's making your body sick and it's adding those pounds on bit by bit. Also watch out for partially hydrogenated anything oil. It means it has been tampered with and now its is modified.

Most of my water is now Alkaline because our bodies are primarily alkaline and so it really helps to keep your skin looking amazing!!!

So what has this helped with me so far. Well since I've incorporated these changes, since December 11 to currently, I have lost 12 pounds and one full size down to a 16 now. I am 50, so I need to make these types of changes to keep me around as long as God sees fit. For me, that is a a huge motivator and while it isn't always easy, I have to tell myself I am doing it for God. I am getting this temple He created for me, in ship shape.

My weight loss goals were simple. Just 5 pounds a month. God has other things in mind. The food is great, and I don't miss what I have given up. In fact, I am discovering new things and looking for ways to use what God has created to keep us healthy and well. I'll keep you posted and if you're interested in joining me, I'd love to help you! Looking for someone to support you, we can do it together. Just let me know in the comments below!!

Friday, January 9, 2015

The Moral Dilemma

"What is this?" she said to herself as she looked again at the bank balance. "This can't be right!"

Scrolling down the list of items on her checking account, there is was. A deposit for $4816.20. That seems like way too much money for her husband's company to pay him. It wasn't there standard deposit they were used to seeing and why would it show up a day before he got paid anyway. The column next to the amount still was flagged as "processing," but the available amount in their account was including this weird deposit.

Picking up the house phone that sat on the desk next to her computer, she dialed the number of her husband's cell phone. She knew he was out on a job site meeting with contractors but hoped he just might pick up.


"Hey babe, I know you're still working, but have you checked our bank balance lately?"

"Why? Is it that bad?" he asked.

"No it is actually pretty good if you ask me. It seems like your getting back $4816.20 this week!"

"What? That can't be right! Are you sure?"

"Yes, I am. Next to the deposit amount is the name of your company but it doesn't say direct deposit. Why is the check amount so high? Is there something you're not telling me? An unexpected bonus? Are they laying you off and this is your final check?"

Laughing he said, "No it's none of those that I can think of. Let me finish up here and make some calls and I'll check on it and call you back.

"Okay! Call me when you're on your way home then. Love you."

"Love you too!"

Now that was odd, she thought as she stared out the window. What reason could there be for a deposit like that showing up? All kinds of thoughts began to run through her head. Perhaps they are paying him out for all his accrued vacation time! No, wait, he doesn't have that many hours. Besides that would really put a damper on the plans they had for the coming days off he had planned to take off.

Perhaps it is a raise. He just finished up a year with the company. Maybe they realized that they were under paying him considerably and raise his salary. Wouldn't that be nice? It would certainly solve quite a few of the bills that were lingering around and perhaps now, they might be able to move out of the questionable area they were living in where crime is constantly on the rise.

All she knew inside her heart, was something was not right. No matter how she tried to justify it the money wasn't theirs to keep.

Then she started thinking.

What would anyone else do in a similar situation?  What if they weren't believers? Would they seriously keep the money or would they come clean and make some calls. What if all of this is a weird ethical test of some kind?

What would you do?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Top Blog Posts Since I've Started Blogging

I don't know about you but I am always interested in what people want to hear from me when they stop by and visit. I've been blogging since 2009 and at the time blogged a lot. I saw blogging as an online journal of sorts not sure if anyone would really be interested in what I had to say. I've met some exceptional "blogging friends" along my journey, people I still communicate with either through blogging or other social media platforms.

One of the things I love to do most is to see what things I have written that have garnered the most interest, the most comments or simply the most views because we know that people pick up your blog posts in a variety of ways and you just never know who is reading it and being impacted by it. I love stats too because they show at times, when people are reading your blog, where they live, and by what search method did they find you through. It helps when knowing what new platforms you should take and which ones you need to let go.

I thought I would share 5 of my most liked and popular posts since I've been blogging:

1. I used to dedicate some of my blog posts to specific days and one of those used to be Friday Funnies. I though there were enough things to stress over that we all needed a laugh instead. One of my most viewed was a Friday Funnies - Just in Time for Thanksgiving which I posted on November 20, 2009. I garnered 45 comments and 15184 page views. It is my highest viewed post and you can view it by clicking on the link below:

Friday Funnies - Just in Time for Thanksgiving.

2. My next most popular blog was written May 18, 2011, titled Proof That Angels Exist. It was my own personal experience what happened when my daughter was literally run over by a car her friend in high school was driving but suffered no effects when it was clear she should have. While it only garnered 6 comments, the post has been viewed 7123 times and is my second most popular post to date. You can view it by clicking on the link below:

Proof Angels Do Exist

3. My third most popular post was generated by a random outing I had at the beach. Sometimes God gives me messages that correspond to the most ordinary events in order to make the impact more powerful. Think of them like modern day parables or sorts. This was regarding the recent election and why so many people simply chose not to vote. God granted me some insight I wanted to capture and share and that was written in a post called Sand Castles written on January 12, 2013. Only 4 comments but 6299 page views ranked this my third most viewed post. I even had a church ask me if they could publish what I wrote. You can view it by clicking on the link below:

Sand Castles

4. Another interesting post for what ranked as number 4 in my most popular post, Easter Jokes for Your Family which I wrote on April 21.2011 which gained 4203 page views and 6 comments. It's interesting to note what some people find interesting to read on blogging platforms. Looking back on these jokes remind me of those silly riddles you used to find on popsicle sticks or gum wrappers. You can view it by clicking on the link below:

Easter Jokes for Your Family

5. My fifth and final blog post I thought I would share with you is one I wrote on April 3, 2010, it had 3236 page views and 7 comments and one of my favorites. It is called Castaway and involves using the concepts from the movie Castaway to see what is truly important in our lives. Who is Your Wilson? What is your Fedex Box? What picture is on your Cave Wall? and finally What is Your Sail? It was a two part post and one I seriously can't remember writing, but love it when I am reinspired by my own posts. I hope you check this one out. You can find it by clicking on the link below:


So that is it, my 5 most popular blog posts of all time according to the ranks compiled from Blogger and shared with you. Tomorrow join me to see what are my personal favorites that I have written and look forward to you sharing yours with me as well! It's nice to look back and see just how far I have grown and what I was inspired to share in my blogging career. I hope you enjoyed it and looking forward to your comments!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Gift of Love

It's been a true blessing to have time to spend with my family and even my extended in-law family who I refuse to acknowledge as in-laws. To me, they are my family as well.

I had the rare opportunity to spend Christmas with my Dad, Randy whom I hadn't spoken with for more than 17+ years. I have to say it's my fault because nothing kept us apart except our respective refusal to communicate with one another. On my end, I was afraid that the things my dad could say to me, to upset or hurt me, would always be there even though now that I am 50. That fear kept me from my Dad.

No more.

This was our first Christmas reunion, and despite the fact that all of my immediate family couldn't be there, it was enough for me to simply keep my promise and agree to spend it with my Dad.

I have watched, read and witnessed so many others watch their relationships with their own fathers slide into eternity, either through death, broken relationships or like me, simply neglect, I knew I didn't want it to continue. I had to make the first move.

And I am so glad I did.

God is the master of restoration. If you think for one moment there isn't anything He can't restore, I would challenge you to give Him a shot. You just might be surprised. Then again, you might be a whole lot like me, and fear that it might just work and you just might be happy for whatever amount of time the good Lord has given you both time to be together.

Watching my husband's father Bill, who seems to be a master at close calls, gave me much needed insight into the value of being with family.

All those childish arguments, hurtful words spoken in the heat of anger, runaway emotions that simply got the best of us, are the things keeping us apart. Time to lay those at the cross and allow God to handle the burden of carrying those things around.

In fact, the enemy would like nothing more than to keep you apart from your family. Especially apart from the family of God. Wouldn't you love nothing more than to wreck those plans?

I guess things really hit home for us when Steve's mom, Vera mentioned that she hoped this would not be her husband's last Christmas. It was important for all of us to simply be together. It's funny how some people will relinquish such control to others to keep them from experiencing the joy of being together with family and allow resentment to continue, rather than simply letting go and moving forward to the happiness and love that family can provide.

Nothing made Vera and Bill more happier this year than to see the entire Smith family together at Christmas. Nothing in my heart could ever remember a more fitting moment than watching it all come together like a Hallmark movie and being a part of it, not merely observing it. The memories created in those priceless family photographs is worth more than any amount of money we could ever hope to see.

In fact, the same could be said of my family Christmas. I loved more than gifts or cards, the memories I gained simply by watching my own children interact with their grandparents. Sharing intimate conversations they will carry with them forever. There is such wisdom and connection when families come together over dinner and I personally can't wait to spend time with them again, especially when we have no excuse why we can't get together because we all live within 5 hours of one another.

As for the gift I was super surprised to get from my Dad, well here it is.

That's right, my Dad who is super amazing got me a Turkey Fryer so next year, the hassle of trying to get the turkey done in time for dinner will NOT prove to be an challenge and will free up more oven space for other things. I especially can't wait to try a seafood clambake in this baby either. I'll make sure to send you pictures when we do!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again

Hard to believe that Christmas is gone and the New Year has already begun. Have you made an predictions of what you hope 2015 will bring yet?

I know, I am right there with you.

In fact, I took some time off from everything during the last two weeks of 2014 and just enjoyed the time I had with my husband.

But like all good plans it doesn't always work out like you had planned.

We knew we had a lot on our family calendar besides just celebrating Christmas, with two family Christmas's we were celebrating afterwards on the 27th and the 3rd of January. I was more than thankful my hubby was off and not traveling.

Turns out what I thought was a pretty severe UTI turned out to be a Kidney Stone. I found this out, three Urgent Care visits in about 3 weeks when all the antibiotics failed to work. It's funny how you can't get a doctor's appointment within 2 weeks any longer and our medical group had changed its hours so I couldn't even be seen by my own medical care group.

The last thing I wanted to do was to go to the ER, because here in the High Desert, that is almost your last option. It will be at least a 4-6 hour wait and all that will happen is they will do what they can to stabilize you and get you out the door until you can be seen by your own doctor.

So for the duration of the Christmas break I bought the bullet and suffered through it all. I was lucky to get in for a CT scan which verified the kidney stone about 6-7mm in my right kidney junction. Now all I had to do was pass it. Easier said than done.

After dealing with the pain of thinking it was a UTI or bladder infection, I was more than worn thin and worn out. Top that off with the Christmas parties that still had to take place as planned and the frustration of not knowing what to do. Thankfully when I went to the final Urgent Care facility which was able to diagnose me after more than 8 hours, I was sent home, full medicated and feeling wonderful to wait to see if it would pass on its own.

I tried lemon juice in hot water, apple cider vinegar in cranberry juice, more water than is in the state of California, sleeping on the side with the stone in it, you name it. I prayed, asked others to pray for me, and then one morning I noticed that urge to go to the restroom was gone, along with the pain that accompanies that. I never had the severe pain everyone else had told me they had and just like it showed up, all my pain went away by the time I had to visit my dad on the 3rd of January. Go figure?

Any way, during all that time, I truly had no desire to Facebook, browse the internet, blog or even read any of the novels I had gotten in. I simply rested. Sat by the fire drinking hot lemon water with honey and just tried to find life again.

The saddest thing is that precious time with my husband is so rare, I feel like I missed out on just being with him. We didn't get to do anything except run ourselves ragged and before we knew it, today was upon us. For him, it means back to work, for me, back to school and blogging and book reviews while we wonder where it all went.

How about you?

How did the last two weeks of 2014 turn out for you?